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The Final Arc of Sky
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Table of Contents

Chapter One: The Shadow We Cast

Chapter Two: A Hold on the Earth

Chapter Three: Omens

Chapter Four: Swimming in the Dark

Chapter Five: Some Inner Planet

Chapter Six: A Little Taste for the Edge

Chapter Seven: A Few Beats of Black Wing

Chapter Eight: Longview

Chapter Nine: New Worlds, Like Fractals

Chapter Ten: Theories of the Universe

Chapter Eleven: Night Vision

Chapter Twelve: Out There in the Deep

About the Author

Jennifer Culkin, winner of a 2008 Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, is a writer and longtime neonatal, pediatric, and adult critical care nurse. A graduate of Russell Sage College and the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University, her work has appeared in many literary magazines and inThe Jack Straw Writers Anthology 2006.

Reviews

Over three decades, more than 4,000 patients and their loved ones have shared "their most wrenching ultimate experiences" with Culkin, a critical care nurse living near Seattle. In this compelling memoir, her moving reflections on life and death interweave clinical encounters with her own life. She looks back at the "clockwork of hormones" as she began her relationship with her future husband while working 12-hour shifts in a San Francisco intensive-care nursery, moving on to become a traveling nurse in Anchorage, then living in the Alaskan wilderness, "completely alone at the edge of the civilized universe." Her marriage, sons, problems with her parents and family dynamics intertwine with memories of patients extricated from wreckage and an impromptu procedure in a helicopter on a patient who couldn't breathe. Culkin details the "sisterhood" of nursing, with its risks and stress and sharing "cups of 0900 coffee," and her own bouts with multiple sclerosis. Describing her life as a flight nurse in the final chapters, Culkin sees herself and others clearly, and poetic juxtapositions make her sentences soar. (Apr.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

In this compelling memoir, her moving reflections on life and death interweave clinical encounters with her own life. . . . Culkin sees herself and others clearly, and poetic juxtapositions make her sentences soar.-Publishers Weekly

"A marvelous writer, mixing tragedy and reflection with luminous prose . . . We are privileged to share her passion and heartbreak."-Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Talker

""With its perfect capture of the fragility of life and our vulnerable human bodies and bonds, A Final Arc of Sky . . . is a disturbing, powerful read."-Lynda V. Mapes, Seattle Times

"Rarely have we heard from such an eloquent yet urgent voice from the front lines of mortality. . . . Culkin writes with elegiac grace and unblinking honesty."-Robin Hemley, author of Invented Eden

"Absorbing . . . This former neonatal and pediatric intensive-care nurse has vivid memories of the tiny patients whose lives were in her hands, and she writes of them with warmth and clarity. . . . Powerful and lucid . . . The risks of being an emergency flight nurse-night flights, bad weather, human error-come fully alive. . . . Enthralling."-Kirkus Reviews

"With her electrifying scenes, her gorgeous sentences, and her provocative explorations of the borderland between life and death, Culkin engaged my heart, my intellect, my artistic sensibility, and my adrenaline."-Ann Pancake, author of Strange as This Weather Has Been

"I loved the stories, the language, the point of view, but what I loved most was the way this book was able to break my heart-then mend it."-Judith Kitchen, author of Distance and Direction

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